The gender pay gap has received much attention in the media lately. From professional sports to corporate America, women are demanding equal pay for equal work. A recent study published in Fertility and Sterility sheds light on another sector with a significant gender pay gap: reproductive health care. Even though women make up 82 percent of physicians working in obstetrics and gynecology, they are earning significantly less money than their male counterparts.
A group of researchers from the University of Colorado Anschutz School of Medicine polled hundreds of board-certified or board-eligible OB/GYNs specializing in fertility and endocrinology about their earnings. Participants submitted details about their practice specialties, number of years practicing, location, and race. After considering the type of practice and years practicing, they found the pay gap between male and female OB/GYNs to be around 27 percent. That equates to around $67,000 per year. Among all medical specialties, women doctors earn on average $105,000 less than men in the same positions.
Reasons for the Gender Pay Gap in Medicine
A senior author of the study and her team investigated many of the suggested reasons for the gender pay gap, including women working less hours, taking personal leave, and practicing in lower paying specialties. After assessing participants’ work schedules and employment profiles, she found none of these reasons were justified. While the Anschutz researchers did not arrive at a definitive reason for the pay gap among OB/GYNs, researchers suggested that female physicians hold back from negotiating their salaries because they do not want to come across as overly aggressive.
Other experts believe the pay gap exists because women are more cognizant of the impact a higher bill has on a patient and may consequently charge less than a male doctor. Also, men working in obstetrics and gynecology are generally required to have a chaperone present during appointments. That additional support enables them to speed up turnaround times and see more patients per shift.
Moving Forward to Reduce the Pay Gap
Researchers offered the following recommendations for slimming the pay iniquity between male and female physicians:
- Acknowledge that the gender pay gap exists
- Encourage an open dialogue about income, salary negotiation, and gender biases in academia and private practice
- Allow for transparency regarding salaries and bonuses
Researchers are also calling for more female mentors to lead the way in creating transparency and policy changes that will ultimately close the pay gap between male and female physicians.
Philadelphia Physician Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Defend the Rights of Health Care Professionals
If you are a health care professional that has experienced gender inequality in your field, the Philadelphia physician lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. can help. We understand the challenges facing today’s health care professionals. We provide personalized attention and legal counsel to protect your career. To schedule a free consultation, call us at 215-569-1999 or contact us online today. Located in Philadelphia, we represent clients throughout Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, and Montgomery County.